- Boy bullied ‘because he suffers from Asperger’s’ paralysed in fall from bridge
- Joshua Davies fell 50ft onto dry riverbed rocks after being chased by yobs
- He fell onto the rocks, breaking his spine, both arms and both legs
- Joshua now faces life in a wheelchair and was told he will never walk again
- His parents say police failed to act on their repeated bullying concerns
A boy bullied because he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome has been told he will never walk again after falling 50ft onto rocks while being chased by a gang of yobs.
Joshua Davies, 18, was trying to escape across a bridge when he plummeted onto rocks below – breaking his spine in four places.
His family claim he has been targeted by bullies because he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and have accused police of failing to act despite going to them for help 15 times.
Joshua remains in hospital today after being paralysed in the fall when he slipped and fell onto the dry riverbed – breaking his spine, both arms and both legs.
Joshua Davies, 18, pictured from his hospital bed in Wales, where doctors have said he will never walk again
Joshua, pictured in his hospital bed, broke his spine in four places and will be unable to even sit up for six weeks
His stepfather Michael Morgan, 35, said: ‘Joshua and his friend were walking by the river, when they realised some boys were following them.
‘They heard them shout: “There they are
‘Joshua and his pal climbed on to the steel supports of the bridge to get away but the boys started throwing stones at them.
‘One of the stones hit Joshua on the shoulder and another hit him on his foot – he lost his grip and fell.’
Joshua’s family, of Pontypridd, South Wales, claim he has been bullied by the same gang of younger boys for the last five years.
His family said the situation became so bad he feared going to the park, to the shops and even going to Cardiff 10 miles away.
The Broadway which crosses the river Taff in Pontypridd, South Wales. It was here Joshua fell onto the rocks
Mr Morgan, an electrical engineer, said: ‘Josh is an easy target because he is tall and looks like a man.
‘He has become quite paranoid about it – even if he saw a group of innocent boys approaching he would start to worry.’
Mike and Joshua’s mother Cheryl Morgan have six children between them.
Kyle, 21, is studying robotics in university, Cameron is 16, Michael who has quite severe autism is 13, Rachel is 10 and Alana is two.
The family visit Joshua every day at the University Hospital of Wales to keep his spirits up.
His stepfather said: ‘Joshua has not been dealt a very good hand – he as diagnosed with Asperger’s and now this has happened.
‘But we are a strong family and we will do our best for him and get through it.’
‘He has felt threatened and been constantly on edge – all because he is an easy target.’
‘He was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when he was 14 – he’s very trusting and can be easily manipulated.
Joshua pictured before the accident. He was due to start a course in electrical engineering and construction this week – instead, he remains in hospital where he’ll be unable to even sit up for the next six weeks
THE AUTISM SPECTRUM: PROBLEMS IN COMMUNICATION
Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism, which affects people’s social skills, ability to communicate and how they relate to the world around them.
As autism is measured on a ‘spectrum’, there are wide variations in how it affects those who suffer from it.
Often those with Asperger’s syndrome have difficulty maintaining eye contact when speaking to others and are awkward when interacting with people.
They can develop unusual preoccupations, or rituals, and show repetitive behaviour.
The exact cause of the disorder is unknown, although it is thought it could be genetic given it tends to run in families.
It is four times more likely to occur in males than in females.
There is no single cure, although a range of treatments, including special education, speech, physical or occupational therapy and medication can be used to help treat it.
‘He does not always have a sense of danger. We have tried to instil it into him, but you can’t wrap him up in cotton wool, although now I wish we had done.’
The family claims Joshua was attacked by members of the same gang earlier this summer when he refused to buy them alcohol.
Mr Morgan said: ‘He came out of the local corner shop and one of the boys jumped on his back and started hitting him on the back of his head.
‘That was the only time he defended himself and he was arrested and charged, which made him scared to defend himself again.’
Joshua’s parents say he was recently chased into a local supermarket by the gang and a security officer had to help him to escape through the back door while the manager called the police.
Mr Morgan added: ‘It’s all bravado on the part of the bullies. Joshua looks like a fully-grown man, but really it is like picking on a child.
‘Joshua went to the police for help more than 15 times but they didn’t take him seriously.
‘We believe this could have been prevented. Joshua reported having issues with these boys before, but his problems were brushed under the carpet because they thought he was messing around.
Joshua’s parents said he was recently chased into a local supermarket by a group of bullies and a security officer had to help him to escape through the back door while the manager called the police
Mrs Morgan, 44, a full-time carer for her other son Michael who also has autism, said: ‘Joshua is not a fighter – he’s a very gentle young man who now faces life in a wheelchair.
‘I think this could have been prevented if the police had listened to him.’
Detective Inspector David Peart said: ‘I can confirm that South Wales Police responded to allegations of assault on three separate occasions between April 2011 and June 2014.
‘On each occasion, a thorough investigation took place and appropriate action was taken. There is no evidence to suggest that the incident which took place on August 17 is connected.’
Joshua, who has just left school, was due to start a course in electrical engineering and construction this week.
But he is still in hospital and has been told the course is not suitable for wheelchair users.
Joshua is recovering in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where he has undergone three operations, and will not be able to sit up for six weeks.
His family said that he is still upbeat even though he has been told he will never walk again.
Three youths – two aged 15 and one aged 16 – have been arrested following the incident and remain on police bail while inquiries continue.